The Press: Fourth Power or Counter-power?


  • Marco Marsili Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Centro de Estudos Internacionais (CEI-IUL), and CINAMIL (Portuguese Army Research Center), Lisboa, Portugal.



freedom of the press; freedom of expression; freedom of speech; freedom of opinion


The freedom of the press –or the freedom of expression –traces its roots in the enlightenment period. Oftenpresented as the "fourth power" – sometimes as "counter-power" –free press is considered a feature of liberal-democracies, and a fundamental human right.This brief article explores the validity of these definitions and the role of the press in democratic societies characterized by governments constrained by checks and balances. Most of this paper draws on my previously published works.

Author Biography

Marco Marsili, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Centro de Estudos Internacionais (CEI-IUL), and CINAMIL (Portuguese Army Research Center), Lisboa, Portugal.

Marco Marsili is research fellow at the Centro de Investigação do Instituto de Estudos Políticos da Universidade Católica Portuguesa (CIEP-UCP) under grant no. SFRH/BD/136170/2018 funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT). He is also research associate at:  CEI-IUL - Centre for International Studies of  the ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL); Centro de Investigação, Inovação e Desenvolvimento da Academia Militar (CINAMIL), the Portuguese Military Academy Research Centre; CIDIUM (Centro de Investigação e Desenvolvimento do Instituto Universitário Militar), the Centre for Research and Development of the Portuguese Military University Institute.

Graduated in Political sciences and international relations from the University Niccolò Cusano (Rome) and in Institutional communication from the Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Milan (2005), both cum laude, he holds an advanced postgraduate diploma in History, Studies of Security and Defense from the ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), where he is scheduled to get his PhD with a thesis on theimpact of ambiguous and disputed of terrorism and counter-terrorism on fundamental human rights.

Currently, he is working on a research project on "The Twenty-First Century Conflicts"at CIEP-UCP, granted by a fellowship from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), the public funding agency for research in Portugal, for a second PhD in Political Science and International relations: Security and Defense. The research is devoted to unconventional conflicts.    

Mr Marsili published 12 books and several articles in international journals (UK, Portugal, Brazil, Italy, etc.). In 2016 he was awarded with the ISCTE-IUL Scientific Award for the paper ”The Islamic State: A Clash within the Muslim Civilization for the New Caliphate” (DOI: 10.1080/1057610X.2015.1100010), Studies in Conflict & Terrorism39:2 (2016).

Mr Marsili serves as electoral observer, and participate in OSCE/ODIHR EOMs both as STO and LTO (Kazakhstan 2007, Armenia 2008, Uzbekistan 2016, Kyrgyzstan 2017, Russia 2018 as independent), and as EU Aid Volunteer (last placement in 2018 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as Senior Disaster Risk Reduction Advisor). He also served in the Italian Air Force (1993/1994).

Mr Marsili is also a journalist and a media/communication professional. He was professor of journalism at the University of Insubria in Varese, and coordinator of the Master in Communication and Multimedia Journalism.



How to Cite

Marsili, M. (2021). The Press: Fourth Power or Counter-power?. artciencia.Com, Revista De Arte, Ciência E Comunicação, (24-25).